US Department of Defense to upgrade to Windows 10 in 2016

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 19 February 2016
US Department of Defense to upgrade to Windows 10 in 2016

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is to upgrade four million devices to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system in a bid to significantly improve cyber security and lower IT costs.

The DoD, which spends around US$38 billion annually on cyber security and IT, aims to upgrade all IT systems and devices currently using Microsoft’s older operating systems – including desktop PCs, laptops, mobile devices and Surface – to Windows 10 by the end of 2016.

The move began last November when Terry Halvorsen, CIO of the DoD, issued a memo directing all combatant commands, services agencies and field activities to rapidly deploy Windows 10 to improve the department’s cyber security, lower the cost of IT and streamline the IT environment.

“With more than 76% of our enterprise and education customers in active pilots of Windows 10 and more than 200 million active devices running Windows 10, we’re seeing accelerated and unprecedented demand for Windows 10 amongst enterprise customers,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, in a blog post. “It is exciting to see adoption of Windows 10 by so many enterprise customers, including those with the highest of security demands, such as the Department of Defense.”

Windows 10 has been certified as meeting specific government criteria and standards. For example, the National Information Assurance Program, the arm of the US government responsible for evaluating commercial IT products for use in National Security Systems, has certified Windows 10 against the Mobile Device Fundamentals Common Criteria protection profile. Similarly, Microsoft’s portfolio of Surface devices has been certified and is available through the Defense Information Systems Agency Unified Capabilities Approved Products List.

Users benefit from various inherent security features, including the Windows Defender anti-malware service, and enhanced threat resistance and device security. Agencies can also use the Windows Hello and Windows Passport biometric mechanisms to identify individuals and restrict access to sensitive documents. Soon, Windows 10 will also include Enterprise Data Protection functionality, which will separate corporate and personal data, and prevent corporate data from being copied to non-corporate files and locations, such as public website or social channels.

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